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From the Editor’s Desk

Five months after the start of his pontificate, Pope Francis sat down with Antonio Spadaro, SJ for a series of interviews that were later translated and then published simultaneously in sixteen Jesuit journals around the world. The resulting text, along with his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (published three months later), anticipates the leitmotifs that would recur in Francis’s teachings. One of these is the importance of encounter: “We must enter into the adventure of the quest for meeting God; we must let God search and encounter us.”1 Similarly, in Evangelii Gaudium, the pope “invite[s] all Christians, everywhere, at this very moment, to a renewed personal encounter with Jesus Christ, or at least an openness to letting him encounter them. . . . No one should think that this invitation is not meant for him or her.”2

From the Editor’s Desk

As I write this note, two anticipated events in the Catholic world have just occurred: the opening of the 2023 Synod on Synodality in Rome and the publication of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation Laudate Deum, his follow-up to Laudato Si’. The two share a theme that Francis sees as fundamental to the human creature and

From the Editor’s Desk

“Tell ’em about the dream, Martin.” Such was the entreaty that, according to popular lore, the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson shouted to Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963.1 The civil rights leader was two-thirds through the speech he was delivering on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. King had spoken about his dream in other contexts but had not included the idea in his prepared texts for this speech. We can be grateful then that King, responding to Jackson or some other grace-touched inspiration, went off script and spoke words that, though often scorned at the time, have ever since resounded deep in the American soul:
I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

From the Editor’s Desk – June 2023

One of the concerns that has been raised by both boards of the journal (the Board of Directors and the Board of Editorial Consultants) is that of gender parity (or lack thereof) in the articles it publishes—a problem that is troublingly evident in this issue: only one of the authors is a woman, while the

From the Editor’s Desk – March 2023

The news of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s passing arrived as I was completing the editor’s note for this issue. Benedict was a man of the church, known for his life of contemplative prayer, liturgical piety, and scholarly faith. In a different ecclesial context, the 2005 election of this scholar hierarch might have been welcomed widely in

From the Editor’s Desk – December 2022

In the discussions that preceded my becoming editor of this journal, I raised the issue of journal “fit”: What are the characteristics that should define articles published in the journal? There was general consensus that even if an article were broadly theological and exhibited top-rate scholarship, it might still not be a good fit for

From the Editor’s Desk – September 2022

To be a Jesuit “is to know that one is a sinner, yet called to be a companion of Jesus.” So states Degree 2 of the Thirty-Second General Congregation of the Society of Jesus. Like all core insights of Ignatian spirituality, the statement is equally applicable to the Christian life in general: the Christian is a

From the Editor’s Desk – June 2022

As this issue goes to press, the world watches in heart-wrenching dismay the violence being inflicted upon the people of Ukraine, staggering violations of human dignity reported in disturbing textual detail and hauntingly graphic images. Over fifty years after Paul VI’s 1965 exhortation to the United Nations, “No more war, war never again,” Pope Francis

From the Editor’s Desk – February 2022

In May 2021, the Vatican announced that the Synod of Bishops (“For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission”), previously scheduled for 2022, would be postponed until October 2023. The delay is partly due to COVID-19, but, as Cardinal Mario Grech, the general secretary for the Synod of Bishops, stated, it also allows the synod

From the Editor’s Desk – November 2021

I remember being deeply moved when I first read Karl Rahner’s On Prayer, based on a series of meditations he had given in Munich after World War II. Moved and surprised: I had not associated Rahner’s writings with such power to affect the heart. Rational, persuasive, brilliant, insightful, yes, but not spiritually moving. I shouldn’t have

From the Editor’s Desk – September 2021

“One professor from MIT reports a new technology, a ‘book’ made of electronic paper which needs only to be plugged in and charged up with a text downloaded.” So wrote Michael Fahey, SJ, the late editor in chief of Theological Studies, in his December 1997 column. Those electronic pages have long ceased to be a wondrous

From the Editor’s Desk – June 2021

The Society of Jesus, along with its institutional partners and Ignatian colleagues, will participate in an “Ignatian Year” from May 20, 2021 through July 31, 2022. The year commemorates the 500th anniversary of the event that began Ignatius’s conversion (his injury via cannonball at the Battle of Pamplona) and is meant to invite participants into

From the Editor’s Desk – April 2021

Among the painful lessons of our COVID era is the reminder that however vulnerable sociality may be to the caprice of external forces, it always remains fundamental to our condition. We need relationships: the intimate bonds of friendship and closely-knit communities; the casually-sustained familiarity of good acquaintances; and the unpredictable resonances of quotidian encounters. We

From the Editor’s Desk – March 2021

In the course of this past year a tide of ominous and challenging events swept over and through the human family and the planet on which we dwell. Notable among these are: the Covid-19 pandemic, yet to be brought under control and continuing to have severe socio-economic consequences; a contentious US presidential election whose divisive

From the Editor’s Desk – July 2020

For more than a decade, a required reading for the undergraduate theology course I have most often taught, “Quests for God, Paths of Revelation,” has been Albert Camus’s 1947 novel, The Plague.1 The novel depicts the deadly unfolding of an epidemic of bubonic plague—the medieval Black Death—that strikes the Algerian port city of Oran, cutting

From the Editor’s Desk – March 2020

The initial drafting of this “From the Editor’s Desk” commentary for the current issue of Theological Studies began on January 28, the day on which the Latin Church now commemorates St. Thomas Aquinas. This coincidence is one that, on reflection, I have come to consider of import for the stewardship of this respected journal that, ad interim, has

From the Editor’s Desk – December 2019

Please find the December Editorial which focuses on hope in a time when our political and religious spheres are being eroded by cynical desires.

“…Christian faith looks at the world and sees not only chaos, destruction, and darkness, but also possibility: the conviction that out of death God draws life; from the void of annihilation a new creation. This hope, far from a mere wish, is rooted in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, whence arose the faith of which we speak.”

From the Editor’s Desk – September 2019

By now readers are quite familiar with the clerical sexual abuse crisis that is still unfolding. The precipitating matter is the sexual abuse of minors by priests, but it is impossible to abstract this issue from a plethora of others which have been mentioned many times: clerical culture, episcopal cover-ups, lack of reporting mechanisms, the

From the Editor’s Desk – June 2019

The church is much on our minds these days, and many are asking how we arrived at this place in our history. Some blame the Second Vatican Council. Despite firm papal leadership, beginning with Pope Paul VI himself, it seems that for some in the church, the council was a mistake that needs to be

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